The gradual increase in our atmosphere’s average temperature is causing concern that erratic weather patterns and severe natural disasters will become more frequent around the world. Climate scientists continue to provide evidence that this increase is due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.
This poses major challenges for the natural environment and for the communities where we operate. It could also affect our business and supply chain in the long run. Our Company relies on natural resources and raw materials for our products, especially water and agricultural commodities such as sugarcane, corn, sugar beets, citrus, coffee and tea.Climate change could exacerbate water scarcity or reduce water quality in certain regions. Water—the main ingredient in most of our products—is vital to our manufacturing processes and to the cultivation of our agricultural ingredients. So the impact of climate change on water availability is of special concern to us.
As we discuss in our position statement on climate protection, the Coca-Cola system is committed to making changes in our operations geared toward reducing our climate impact. We are striving to reduce emissions from our manufacturing processes and also driving collaboration throughout our supply chain to reduce emissions associated with the growing of our ingredients, the production of our packaging, and the distribution and refrigeration of our products.
Evolution of Our Goals
Some years back, we set aggressive 2015 goals in the areas of climate and packaging. We have already met some of these goals, are on track to achieve others, and will fall short of achieving our targets in a few areas.
Recognizing the role we play as an industry leader, we have regularly opted for setting demanding targets to drive fundamental change, rather than just incremental improvement, across our bottling system, even while understanding that their attainment was not guaranteed. And as we have advanced in these efforts with our bottling partners, we have often helped to positively influence the progress in our industry as well.
The Company and our bottling partners remain committed to our work on programs related to climate protection and sustainable packaging. We will continue to make progress on these important programs. Moving forward, the work our system has been undertaking doing toward meeting goals initially set for our 2015 goals, as described in this section around for refrigeration and manufacturing emissions and for in our sSustainable pPackaging section around renewable and recycled content, and material resource efficiency, will continue to be tracked and reported transparently within our overarching goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the “drink in your hand” by 25 percent by 2020.
This shift in how we capture and share our progress reflects the critical—and multifaceted—challenge that climate change poses to the globe and to our business. Our evolved approach integrates several aspects of our sustainability framework, including those around packaging and sustainable agriculture. And it maximizes the flexibility of our business and our bottling partners to pursue whichever efforts are most effective toward meeting this overarching goal.
As we’ve traveled along our journey to embed our sustainability framework into our business, we’ve learned about the importance of giving our system flexibility in how they support initiatives. Our carbon footprint can be reduced through efforts involving packaging, agricultural ingredients, manufacturing, distribution and refrigeration. Which strategies are best depends strongly on local conditions.
With this in mind, we have equipped our business unit leaders with tools to determine the best interventions and to measure their progress (see Sustainable Packaging). And we plan to hold these business unit leaders accountable for their progress.
More on Journey
- Muhtar Kent Remarks: U.S. Water Partnership 2017 Water Leader Award
- Changing Lives: 5by20 Expands by 41% to Reach 1.7 Million Women
- Muhtar Kent’s Key Accomplishments as Coca-Cola CEO
- Global Developers Turn to Social Art to Help Give Communities Access to Safe Water
- A Q&A With Johanna Pramstaller, Special Olympics Global Messenger